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Improving What Already Seems Fine

September 15, 2017
by Adam Churchill

There's not lots of urgency to improve something no one is complaining about, but that’s the challenge when we remove unseen friction.

The life story for unseen friction can be told with two ‘characters’:

1.   Someone super passionate about the product (platform or process) says “Wouldn’t it be better if…?” and then figures out how to make that ellipsis a reality.

2.   Users who, before the fix, never noticed the negative attributes in their experience, but now that it is improved say, “Wow! This is so much better!”

The reservation confirmation without the “Add to Calendar” feature; Gmail without the suggested responses; or a smart phone credit card form without the option to snap a picture of the card. These are all examples of processes we encounter that take (too many) extra steps and were widely accepted without much complaint until, when changed discretely, changed the game broadly.

The before and after for unseen friction makes a macro impact. The path to identifying these friction points and their solutions often requires ignoring the local maxima and exploring new technology. The results raise the bar for the competition and raise the expectations of the users.